Hawk threat....

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by coop-er, Jul 31, 2014.

  1. coop-er

    coop-er Songster

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    My birds stay in a secure run and coop most of the day, but I do allow free-ranging when I am in the yard. I try to have them out at least a couple of hours daily and so far so good. Now I am noticing a hawk hanging out in the area (certainly because of my birds) and now I am wondering what to do next. Will this hawk eventually leave if it can't get to my birds, or will it be here indefinitely?, (there is plenty of wild game for the predators in the area) I hate the thought of my birds not getting out at least for a little while daily, but I know these guys are swift and deadly.
     
  2. chicmom

    chicmom Dances with Chickens

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    We also have hawks around occasionally. I've noticed that they usually show up in the afternoon, around 2:00 or so, so now I let my gals free range after 6:00. I usually don't see any hawks in the evening hours. However, I know that's not a guarantee that they're safe....

    I'd rather take a little risk than keep them locked up all day in their run......
     
  3. coop-er

    coop-er Songster

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    Yes, this one comes around about lunchtime(!!), so I have been letting mine out about an hour or so before sundown so they have some time out of their confines
     
  4. Pyro01

    Pyro01 In the Brooder

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    The one thing you have to realize is hawks are opportunistic hunters. While they might never bother your chickens, if a hawk is hungry enough because it can't seem to catch a rabbit, it will go after something bigger than what it's used to. Once it's successful, a switch flips in their brain that this is an acceptable prey item, it was easy enough to catch and it allowed them to crop up on it. Some hawks just go after anything and everything it thinks it can catch, I've have falconer friends who had birds like that, my own hawk was quite reserved when it came to hunting squirrels. I lost him for 2.5 hours on a hunt on Christmas Eve, and found him under a giant log with a squirrel he caught. After that he would bolt at any squirrel he saw.

    Most hawks will go to roost about 5-20 minutes before sunset, but you can never really know what one might be thinking if it spots a chicken and it's hungry.
     
  5. Papas Chickens

    Papas Chickens Songster

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    I have hawks in my area along with turkey vultures, I use Guinea Fowl as predator alarms for my flock I have 5 Guineas and everytime they see a hawk they sound the alarm and all my girls run right into the enclosed run and coop while my Roo stands guard with the Guineas. So my suggestion is to get some Guineas and a good size Roo. [​IMG]
     
  6. coop-er

    coop-er Songster

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    Interesting information, thank you. How territorial are they? Is my yard now his hunting ground because he sees my chickens or will he move along because they are not accessible to him/her?
     
  7. coop-er

    coop-er Songster

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    Yes, we have ALOT of turkey vulture too, but they seem more like scavengers who only are interested in roadkill. I do have 3 roosters, but I have heard that the Guineas are quite noisy too. Any downside to owning them?
     
  8. Papas Chickens

    Papas Chickens Songster

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    I havent found a downside yet except for the noise and they dont care for really cold weather but you have Roos so the noise shouldnt be a factor, they can also be bossy to your chickens but my Roo always straitens them out if they get out of line. They are excellent buggers, if you have a tick problem like i do they will reduce the problem by 90 percent or more depending on how many you get. There also great watch dogs and stranger alarms. [​IMG]
     
  9. Pyro01

    Pyro01 In the Brooder

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    Turkey vultures should never ever bother your chickens as you are correct in that they are only scavengers. As far as the hawk sticking in an area, it depends. Some redtails migrate while others do not, but they usually don't start migrating till late September or October.

    As far as how wide an area, hawks tend to perch on a regular spot and usually has a hunting ground of at least 2-4 sq. miles when they're staying put in an area, but if you're chickens are viewed as easy prey by the hawk it will stay in the area and you'll have to keep your chickens in a run, because the hawk will take prey on the side of a busy highway, it won't care if they're in your front yard or around the barn unless there is something around to deter it. You could try putting out a Great Horned Owl decoy. Great Horned Owls are a primary red-tailed hawk killers, so usually they'll stay out of the area if they spot an owl, that or attack it head on. Redtails are one of the most diverse birds as far as personality goes, some are real aggresive, others are laid back.
     
  10. Papas Chickens

    Papas Chickens Songster

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    I have a red-tail that perches on my fence right next to a owl decoy all the time that i use to keep birds out of my garden. He just looks at it and pecks it now and then. [​IMG]


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